Fall is the traditional time to harvest fruits and vegetables. If you have your own vegetable garden, you may already know this. However, if you’re new to the in-season-produce game,trying to figure out the ins and outs of eating seasonally may be a little intimidating. Fear not! Here’s a step-by-step guide to seasonal produce.
What Does “In Season” Mean?
Simply put, “in season” refers to food that’s harvested at a particular time of year. This ensures that you’re getting produce when it’s at its very best. This produce will have all the nutrients needed for a healthy diet. Also, your produce won’t be treated with harmful chemicals, so it’s even more healthy for your family.
What’s “Peak Season”?
“Peak season” is the time of the season when buying a particular fruit or veggie is most beneficial. First off, it’s when the produce is most available. Next, since it’s in abundance during peak season, the produce is far cheaper than any other time of year. Another benefit is that the produce has the most flavor during this time because it’s been allowed to fully ripen. However, perhaps the most important reason to buy produce in peak season is that it also has the maximum amount of nutrients.
Why Buy Local?
Buying locally grown produce ensures that there are little to no chemicals used as preservatives. If you were to buy seasonal produce from a farm out West and you live in the South, it’s highly probable that the farm will treat the produce with preservatives. Also, local produce doesn’t have to be shipped from another location, cutting down on pollutants like carbon dioxide gas. You can either purchase produce directly from the farmer at a farmer’s market or from a nearby farm.As an added bonus, buying locally stimulates the economy in your area, which is good for everyone in the long run.
Not in the mood to shop and cook for produce? Here at Market Table, we partner with local farms and food distributors to make sure we use locally grown and responsibly farmed produce whenever possible.
Finding Out What’s in Season
The best way to find out what’s in season in your area is to visit your state’s Department of Agriculture website. They will have a list of produce with information on when the season for something starts and when it ends. The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture also offers convenient seasonality charts. On Alabama Farmers Market Authority’s website, you’ll find a list of seasonal produce and information about when it’s in peak season. This Alabama Cooperative Extension System guide, put together by Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities, lists seasonal produce and ideas for preparing it.
What’s in Season Now?
Here’s a list of what’s in season this fall and winter in the Southeast:
Text by Amber Pope
Making dinner doesn’t have to be a task you dread at the end of a long day. Letting your kids join you in the kitchen turns cooking into an exciting bonding time for your whole family. Kids can learn and practice valuable skills through age-appropriate cooking tasks. Here are seven safe and fun ways your kids can help make dinner.
Read the recipe
This is a great job for a kid who needs to work on their reading skills. Recipes contain a variety of ingredients, directions, and measurements. The variety in language will challenge your child and help their vocabulary grow.
Get the ingredients
Depending on which ingredients you want your child to gather, this job can be for almost any age. Younger kids can fetch familiar ingredients like fruits and vegetables. Older kids can fetch heavier things, things that could spill, and ingredients that might require them to read the label.
Crack the eggs
Cracking eggs can be tough, but it’s a very rewarding accomplishment if you get it right. For kids, the idea of perfecting their cracking skills will make them want to continue helping in the kitchen. For your older kitchen helpers, this is a job they’ll enjoy.
Rinse off the produce
Kids love playing in water, and rinsing off the produce is no exception. Kids at the youngest of ages can hop up on the counter to wash the vegetables and fruits you’ll need for your dish. This is also a great opportunity to teach your kids the importance of rinsing off their produce and making sure it’s clean.
This is another task that works for children of almost any age. Older kids can stir things on the stove with close adult supervision. Younger kids can stir the necessary ingredients together. Either way, mixing things together is a great job for kitchen beginners.
Watch the timer
This is a great job for a kid that knows or is learning how to tell time. Set a timer on your phone or stove and have them watch the clock. It’ll seem like a very important job to your young ones, especially since timing is key to a great dish.
Set the table
While they’re waiting for the food to cook, have your kids set the table for dinner. This is a great job for older kids in case something is breakable. Don’t stop at putting out the plates and silverware, though. The kids can even proudly serve the food they helped make.
Text by Kendal Harris
School’s out, and the kid’s are hungry. After a busy day, you won’t have much desire to cook up some elaborate meal. Here’s five easy after-school snacks that are super delicious and will keep your child’s hunger at bay.
Milk and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Milk and cookies aren’t just for Saint Nick. Be like the jolly old man himself, and gift your kids with this after-school snack. This match made in heaven is a great comfort food and is completely irresistible. Plus, there’s no Santa Claus suit required.
Kiwi Ice Pops
Summer vacation is over, but it looks like the weather never got the memo. If you’re still trying to beat the heat well into fall, try these kiwi ice pops. They’re mouth-wateringly delicious and will help you continue to conquer those hot summer-like days.
Homemade Goldfish Crackers
Save some money at the grocery store, and tackle this homemade version of the famous snack. These cheesy crackers go perfect with a peanut butter spread. They’re the snack that smiles back, and they’ll definitely put a smile on your kid’s face.
Oven-Baked Chicken Fingers
We all love chicken nuggets. There are songs, videos, and Vines dedicated to this bite-size food. But what about its less popular cousin, chicken fingers? Well, be the change and start a movement that we need in this world by whipping up these healthy oven-baked chicken fingers. Your kids (and I) will thank you.
Pigs in a Blanket
The first step to this recipe is to reassure your younger children that there aren’t any real pigs in a blanket. Once that’s done, it’s smooth sailing from here. Get some frozen pastry dough and all-beef hot dogs, and you’re all set to make this popular snack.
Text by Kendal Harris
What Is Wine Pairing?
As old as civilization itself, wine has been a staple to the diets of many cultures. In some parts of the world, it was even considered safer to drink than the water. In modern times, we tend to focus on the actual experience of dining and drinking wine itself. This experience can be amplified by finding a delicious wine that pairs well with the flavor profile of the foods served.
At its core, wine functions best as a palate cleanser. This means that pairing wines with certain foods will make eating the food itself a more worthwhile experience. But how do you know what wine pairs well with what food? And how can someone pair wines with food when they can’t even tell the difference in wine varieties? These five tips will have you pairing food and wines like a sommelier in no time!
You may not be entirely familiar with the flavor profiles for different wines. Never to fear: the flavor profiles for food are already familiar to most food enthusiasts. Though there may be as many as twenty different kinds of tastes on the tongue, they can be boiled down to a list of six. These are the flavors fatty, salty, acidic, sweet, bitter, and spicy. When it comes to pairing, your first step is to decide which flavor is most prominent in the dish you’re serving. For example, bacon would chiefly have a salty taste, whereas bread pudding would be sweet.
Similarities Shine, Opposites Attract
Where wine pairings shine is in the balance of flavors between the wine and food. A congruence pairing brings together a wine and food with similar flavors, creating balance. On the contrary, a complementary pairing brings together a food and wine with flavors that contradict each other. Once you’ve determined the primary flavor of the food and what kind of pairing you’re looking for, it’s time to find wine with the right flavor profile.
The flavor profiles for different varieties of wine are simple to understand. This is because wine only has three types: bitter, acidic and sweet. Most red wines have a bitter flavor profile. Next, sparkling, white, and rosé wines all have a pronounced acidic flavor profile. Finally, sweet wines obviously have large notes of sweetness in their flavor profile.
For the pairing beginner, there are a couple of staple rules that can help your wine pairing. First, one should always make sure the wine is more acidic than the food. When you don’t know what goes well with a flavor of food, you can also base it on regional pairing. For example, Italian food can go well with an Italian wine like Bianco or Rosso. Also, red wines pair best with bold meats like steak. In contrast, white wines pair well with light meats like chicken or fish.
Now that you understand the basics of wine and food flavors, how does you choose the right wine with the right food? It all goes back to congruent or complementary pairings. For example, if trying a complementary pairing, chicken pairs well with many different kinds of wine. Although it pairs well with wines like rosé, the best one to choose is a light white wine. The high acidity of the wine creates a complementary pairing with the chicken by cleansing the palate. On the other hand, a congruent pairing would be like pairing a chardonnay with a salad with vinaigrette dressing. Both of these flavors have high acidity, which similarly complement each other.
Ready to create your own pairings? Market Table stocks a wide variety of wines — you’re sure to find one suited for any meal you put on your table. Our Girl’s Night Out (Thursday, September 20th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM) gives you the perfect chance to test your pairing skills. We’ll taste five of our fine new wines and you’ll also get to enjoy two full glasses of the wine of your choosing. Plus, we’ll serve up an array of delicious appetizers. Tickets are only $20 and can be purchased here. Any time you need a little help with wine pairing, we’re always here with palates that can help you find the right wine to pair with your guests’ heaping plates.
Text by Jonathon Page
Fall’s almost here! And that means one thing: Pumpkin Spice. But, of course, pumpkin spice isn’t the only flavor coming back this fall. We’ve compiled a list of fall 2018 flavor trends sure to line the shelves this season.
Maple flavoring appeared in some fall beverages and sweets over the last few years. However, we expect the flavor to reach a new peak this season. While maple will continue to sweeten warm drinks, we also expect it to pair with adult beverages like bourbon and whiskey. The richness of the maple pulls out the deep flavors gained from the barrels during the distilling process. Additionally, the sweetness of maple softens the bite of the alcohol, making it an ideal addition to fall and winter cocktails.
Savory: Brown Butter
Brown butter brings a savory twist to any dish that calls for butter. Simply heat regular butter just past its melting point. This turns the butter a brown, toasted color. Additionally, the heating process releases a nutty flavor you won’t get from regular butter. Brown butter pairs especially well with dishes already containing pecans and hazelnuts, like various breads or baked goods.
We expect to see a rise in the use of the orange’s flavor this fall. Orange can be used in so many different ways. This makes it a very versatile flavor, with uses from baked goods to beverages to savory pasta dishes. Orange pairs especially well with cinnamon and other spices making it a great addition to spicy dishes that will keep you warm this fall. Finally, orange will be an increasingly popular flavor for fall beers, cocktails and teas.
There’s no doubt that Pumpkin Spice’s reign will continue. Still, keep an eye out for these fall flavors this season. Don’t be afraid to get creative and add them to your own dishes!
Text by Amy Haupt
Football season is here, which means Christmas has come early for football fans. Besides the actual sport, fans unite over something else — tailgating. Tailgating brings the food, fun, and fellowship right before the competition gets heated. If you’re planning an ultimate tailgate party, here’s the menu you need to make sure everyone’s having a great time.
Get the party started with this simple dish. Guacamole is a natural classic for any tailgate and the perfect appetizer for your tailgate party. Serve this party favorite with some salty chips, and you’ll have your guests begging for more. Not a guacamole fan? Try mixing it up with some of Market Table‘s freshly made dips, like our Hot Bacon and Swiss dip or guacamole’s dear friend, Texas Caviar.
Meat lovers rejoice! This hearty bowl of chili will warm you up on those fall Saturday afternoons. This recipe comes from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, Cravings. If a celebrity-made dish isn’t enough for you, then your guests’ appetites will speak for itself.
Mexican-Style Grilled Corn
Compliment your meaty chili with this tasty veggie dish. This corn is brushed with a smoky chipotle spread. After coming off the grill, it’s topped with crumbled cheese, cayenne, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. This dish will make you feel like you’re on the streets of Mexico.
No tailgate is complete without a tasty dessert. When chocolate brownies aren’t enough, whip out a recipe with three times the chocolatey goodness. It’ll be sure to please even the biggest sweet tooth. Set these out for your guests and watch them get devoured.
Pumpkin Beer Cocktail
You’re going to need something to wash down all this delicious food, right? Try this Pumpkin Beer Cocktail that screams fall weather. Instead of the normal cans of beer, this is a perfect seasonal twist to any tailgating party.
Text by Kendal Harris
If you’re still eating your food off of a plate, it’s time to get with the hottest new trend: bowls. Need further proof? Go search #bowl on Instagram, and you’ll see over two million pictures of food bowls. Even at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markel, reception guests ate various options of the food bowl. Though you probably won’t be dining with the Queen of England, you’re still going to want to get in the bowl game. Here’s why these aesthetically pleasing dishes are on the rise.
Food bowls may look too beautiful to eat, but they are definitely good for your health. This is why the trend is so popular amongst healthy eaters. You’re getting all your grains, proteins, and vegetables right in one main dish, and the heartiness of the meal will leave you full for hours.
This bowl trend also means there’s more healthy food options. Restaurants are competing to “out bowl” each other. More restaurants offer healthy bowl options, which is a win for you. Instead of driving across town for your food bowl, you’ll probably find a nearby restaurant that’s caught on to the new trend.
They’re Easy to Make
If you’re trying to save some money, food bowls are also simple to make. Another great thing about food bowls is that they’re infinitely customizable. You can mix and match bases, toppings, and dressings to your heart’s desire. This make food bowls great for meal preppers, lunch lovers, and picky eaters.
If you’re skeptical about joining the craze, just know that this is no fad. In fact, food bowls have been around for a long time. They get their origins from Hawaiian and Brazilian culture with the poke and açaí bowls, respectively.
Poke is a staple Hawaiian dish and traditionally includes raw cubed tuna. But, there are other options such as octopus, salmon or tofu. All of this is served on a bed of rice and topped with furikake, a Japanese seasoning equivalent to America’s salt and pepper. This dish has left the island and established itself as a popular food bowl throughout the rest of the country.
Açaí is a superfruit with lots of health benefits. It gained its popularity through smoothie bowls, but it’s also a popular icecream flavor. Açaí bowls, or Açaí na tigela in Brazil, are fruit smoothie bowls topped with granola, bananas, other berries and syrups. These are the bowls you’ll see the most on Instagram.
If stepping up your Instagram game or the Royal family wasn’t enough motivation to join the food bowl movement, then maybe these benefits and cool origins will inspire you to join soon.
Text by Kendal Harris
Back to school means back to the craziness of after-school activities, homework and everything else you forgot about (or tried to!) over summer. Let Market Table ease your burden and save your sanity with 5 DAYS OF FREE MEALS!
Follow the instructions below for your chance to win!
Head on over to our Instagram account and find our Sanity Saver Meal Giveaway announcement. Then, you’ll need to:
1.) Follow (or make sure you’re following!) Market Table on Instagram
2.) Like the contest announcement post OR the contest reminder post on Market Table’s Instagram timeline, and
3.) Tag a friend in the comments of the contest announcement post OR the contest reminder post on Market Table’s Instagram timeline. Tag two friends for an extra entry!
We’ll accept entries from 8/10/18 until 12 AM CST on 8/15/18. The winner will be selected at random and notified by direct message on Instagram by 12 PM CST on 8/16/18.
The winner will receive 5 of our local, healthy, hearty prepared dinners or freezer meals that will please your whole family and give you time to settle back in to the school year craziness!
You must be 18 years or older at the time and date of entry and a resident of Alabama to win. This giveaway is in no way associated with Instagram. See the official rules here.
Do you find yourself struggling to find a recipe at the last minute? Never seem to have what you need from the grocery store? Have no fear! Creating a weekly meal plan can make after-school evenings run much more smoothly!
Choose the Meals Your Family Loves
Start by making a list of all the meals and snacks your family likes to eat on a regular basis. Pro-tip: get some sticky tabs or magnets and write the name of each meal on a tab. Place them all in a notebook or on your refrigerator, spread out so that they’re easily accounted for. These meals will be the building blocks of a weekly meal plan for your family.
Chart It Up
If you went with sticky tabs, create a chart with a column for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Add rows for each day of the week. This layout allows you to easily account for each meal and snack you’ll be responsible for throughout the week. Although there are often occasions where you’ll go out to eat, it’s always better to have a plan that you stray from than to have no plan at all.
Organize the Days
Now, decide which meals should fall into which slot. When this process is completed, you should have a planned dish for every meal and snack throughout the week. When you get home from work, it’ll be so easy to just check the meal chart and start cooking. You also won’t have to worry about changing the meal halfway through preparation, as your family can see the meal plan. You can even collaborate on the plan before the week begins to avoid any arguments. As a bonus, this is an excellent way to teach the kids about balance and nutrition!
Check the Diet
Ever wondered if you’ve been giving your kids enough nutrients? This meal planning system makes it easy to keep your family’s diet (or, more often, diets) in check. You can easily outline and implement your family’s dietary needs with a structured meal plan. Also, seeing the meal plan spread out before you will make it easy to find places where leafy greens can be best disguised.
Shop and Prep
No more opening the fridge on a Wednesday night to find an empty milk carton! When you know what dishes you’ll be preparing a week ahead, you can easily buy everything you need from the grocery store in one go. Go through your meal chart and make a grocery list of all the items you’ll need for the week. After purchasing them, you can even prep for the meals ahead of time. Maybe a lot of your meals require chopped veggies or peeled fruit. Maybe you have to soak some lentils for another dish. Finishing the prep work for multiple meals once or twice a week is a huge time saver.
Of course, not everyone has time to meal prep or plan. That’s where Market Table comes in! Our freezer meals and prepared dishes offer options for the whole family — just pop them in the oven and have a healthy, delicious meal in no time. Stumped when it comes to lunch? We’ve got you covered there, too: you can pre-order and pick up our Light Lunchboxes, saving you time and sanity.
The days of packing peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and Capri Suns are over. Nowadays, it feels like every member of the fam wants something new and different from those old average lunches. Being creative can be easy — even when you’re packing lunches for the entire family. Here are five fabulous ideas for lunch-spiration.
Salads are a great option for take-away lunches. They aren’t prone to spoil, they don’t have to be microwaved, and they’re healthy more often than they aren’t. Even if your family is suspicious of salads, they’ll love this Edamame Power Salad. This recipe’s packed with super-healthy edamame and chickpeas — and it’s both gluten-free and vegan. The avocado lime dressing gives it a tangy twist. It’s so good the kids won’t even realize they’re eating a salad!
Pasta’s another dish that doesn’t necessarily have to be microwaved. Kids love pasta, so it’s an avenue to ease them into trying new ingredients. For example, this Sesame Ginger Soba Noodle Salad is packed with roasted veggies like bell peppers and asparagus. The zesty dressing pairs great with most vegetables, making this a catch-all option for what’s leftover in your fridge at the end of the week.
Of course, sandwiches are a classic lunch box option. They don’t have to be boring, however. If your family’s tired of peanut butter and jelly, try this Chicken, Sprouts, and Provolone Sandwich. It’s served on a sesame bagel that gets toasted in the oven. The crunch of the bean sprouts and the bagel pairs perfectly with soft chicken and melted provolone cheese. If your kids aren’t quite adventurous eaters yet, remember that cookie cutters can make any sandwich exciting! Our kiddos love these Hungry Hippos.
Sick of sandwiches? Try a wrap! With the right preparations, wraps are quick and easy. We love a Beef Shawarma Wrap. This wrap uses pita bread or flatbread and contains ingredients like beef, tahini, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and other sauces and spices. It’s the burrito’s delicious middle-eastern cousin. Plus, it’s a great source of protein and fiber.
If you’re feeling especially dedicated, try making bowls. Bowls offer endless combinations, which means endless possibilities for delicious lunches. Watching your weight? Try these clean eating bowls. Looking for something delicious, family-friendly, and moderately healthy? Try this Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl (pro-tip: use brown rice for added fiber). Packed with protein, you can add a variety of vegetables depending on your preference. The sweet teriyaki sauce is sure to make this bowl a hit for your whole family.
Of course, everyone runs out of ideas from time to time. Or, you just might not have time to make lunchboxes every day. Why not try our Light Lunchboxes and let us do the work for you? You can pre-order lunches by Wednesday and pick them up on Sunday, or just come by and see what’s in the case! Follow us on Facebook to see what meals we’re packing for lunch each week.
Text by Martha Kendall Custard